How Much Is a Cruise Ship Underwater?

By Michael Ferguson

Cruise ships are a popular way to travel, and they often come with the added bonus of exploring the sea’s depths. But how much of a cruise ship is actually underwater?

The answer depends on the size and shape of the vessel. Generally speaking, most cruise ships measure anywhere from 300 to 900 feet in length, with an average beam (width) of between 50 and 65 feet.

These larger vessels typically have a draft (depth) of between 20 and 30 feet below the waterline, which means that around 20-30% of the vessel will be submerged in water.

Smaller vessels may be less than 200 feet long and have a beam of around 35 feet. These smaller cruise ships generally have a draft of around 12-15 feet, meaning that only 12-15% of the vessel will be underwater.

The majority of a cruise ship will always remain above water, regardless of its size or shape. The portions that are underwater are primarily used for propulsion and stability purposes, such as powering propellers and stabilizing ballast tanks.

In addition to these propulsion and stability features, there are also parts of the ship that are designed to stay underwater for aesthetic purposes such as glass windows in restaurants or observation decks located below the surface level. This allows passengers to get an up-close look at marine life without having to leave the comfort of their cabin.

Ultimately, how much of a cruise ship is underwater depends on its size and shape. The majority will remain above water while some parts like propulsion systems or observation decks can stay submerged for specific purposes.


The amount by which a cruise ship is submerged underwater varies depending on its size and shape, but generally speaking only 20-30% is underwater while most remains above water. This portion is primarily used for propulsion systems or aesthetic observations such as glass windows in restaurants or observation decks located below the surface level.